A visit to the vet can be stressful for any pet. The sounds, smells, and strange faces can be unsettling, especially for younger pets. Research by the American Veterinary Medical Association suggests that more than 50% of pet owners believe their pets dislike visits to the vet.
Many pet parents also feel anxious about the visits. Following are tips for a stress-free veterinary visit and making the experience positive for pets.
Frequently Handling Your Pet
Handling and grooming your pet constantly can help ease anxiety about physical examinations that make them uncomfortable. You can condition your pet to accept handling and restraint. Perform regular checks at home where you handle your pet’s ears, mouth, teeth, and feet.
Make the sessions fun, rewarding your pet with treats after each checkup. Your furry friend will be less anxious about professional checkups when they are used to it at home.
Practice Using the Pet Carrier
You need a pet carrier or crate to transport your cat or small dog to the vet. Unfortunately, most pets associate carriers with visits to the vet. Place your pet in the carrier during trips to the park and other fun events.
You can also place your pet’s meals in the carrier regularly. Placing treats, toys, or a cozy blanket in the crate will make it more appealing. It will make this essential mode of transport less threatening.
Keep Yourself and Your Pet Calm
It is vital to know that pets can sense their owner’s anxiety. Your pet may sense an impending vet visit long before you get the carrier out. If you are feeling nervous, your pet will exhibit the same feelings. An anxious pet can be difficult to examine or treat.
Try to remain calm as you prepare your pet. Avoid over-petting, and do not try too hard to reassure your pet as they are likely to sense something unusual. Act like everything is normal and maintain a calm demeanor.
Use Food As Motivation
Most pet owners use food or snacks to distract or comfort their pets. Food motivation is an effective strategy, especially when the pet is hungry. Scheduling the appointment when your pet is hungry can keep them food motivated.
Your furry friend is more likely to cooperate when they know a reward is forthcoming. Skip breakfast or feed your pet a small meal in the morning. Remember, a fasted animal will give more accurate lab results.
Exercise Before the Appointment
A game of catch in the yard or a brisk walk can help your pet feel more relaxed. Burning off excess energy will help reduce tension. A tired pet is more likely to remain calm. Do not place your pet in a carrier straight from their nap.
Choose the best appointment time based on your pet’s anxiety levels. Some animals feel overly anxious in a room with many animals. An early appointment can ensure less human and animal traffic at the vet clinic.
Arrange Brief, Fun Vet Visits
Planning brief visits to the vet without being examined or vaccinated can help ease your pet’s fears. Meet-and-greet visits can allow your pet to see the clinic as a fun place. They can get used to the sounds and smells and even meet staff members. If the facility has a doggy daycare, your pet may enjoy regular visits for play and socialization. Provide a great travel experience on your way to the clinic.
For more tips for a stress-free veterinary visit, contact Madison Animal Care Hospital at our office in Madison, Alabama. Call 256-461-7575 to book an appointment today. For emergencies, call (256) 715-8389.